3 Doors Down have found continued success in the past year on their “Songs From the Basement” touring cycle. The tour has had a few speed bumps along the way with a slight line up change but nothing that a band of their stature and talent couldn’t over come. Originally, the tour was meant to be a special limited time tour run for old time fans of the band to come out for special stripped down performance filled with rarities and stories from the band. The stories have remained a crucial part of the set, the show at Penns Peak was full of great ones, but some of the rare old songs have been replaced for something fresh. When I say fresh I mean the songs aren’t even out yet fresh.
The last time that Sight of Sound Magazine caught 3 Doors Down they were on the first leg of this tour and it was back in January; since then much has changed. Replacement bassist, Justin Biltonen, has since become a full time member of the band and it has been talked about at shows that new material was in the works. On a side note the band as a whole has been taking continually better care of themselves. This new found attitude shows both physically and in terms of performance ability as well. The most notable transformation is Chris Henderson; he looks like a completely different person in the best possible way so a major shout out to him for his new found fitness because it has really payed off for him.
At it’s core the show is very similar to the first leg of the acoustic tour, the night kicks off with fans walking on stage first to special couch viewing areas in 3 Doors Down’s “onstage basement” as the band walks out behind them to flick on a side bulb hanging down in the center of the stage. From there they jump right into “Father’s Son,” “Let Me Be Myself,” and “Be Like That.” The setlist still continues the band’s cover of Garth Brooks’ “The Dance” which is something that I think both myself and fans of the band are hoping will appear in a studio version sometime down the road. Towards the middle of the set was the big change that this tour needed to have during it’s second leg to keep things fresh and interesting for fans who were coming back to the basement for more. New Material, not 1, not 2, but 3 new 3 Doors Down songs.
Before diving into these songs Brad Arnold took a minute to toy with the crowd and asked if it was alright if they played some brand new material for them instead of the older stuff. After a roaring cheer back from the crowd he took a second to laugh before telling the crowd that they could just go get a beer and stand outside if they didn’t want to hear it because they were playing them whether they wanted to hear them or not.
The first song was titled “You Better Believe It” and was a slight change of pace for the band stylistically because it featured a very dynamic group chorus at times. Most of their songs just feature Brad Arnold on the bulk of the chorus but to hear the entire band as a group really felt powerful and gave the song some standing power that their pre-existing material doesn’t have. The second new song, “Pieces of Me,” is what I am going to call the safer of the three new tracks played. It was the song that really felt like it could be a part of their music library already, though I think that the lyrical content of it far exceeds a lot of what they have put out in recent history so there is that to take from it despite it being musically safe. The third and final new song was by far my favorite and was a very radical departure from the band’s musical style. They warned the crowd before it started that it had a “latin” feel to it and it really did have that vibe at times. The song was titled “I Don’t Wanna Know” and is most certainly going to become one of the biggest tracks of their career for a multitude of reasons, the biggest being that they can use it to showcase their newly re-defined sound.
These three songs give me a lot of curiosity for what they have coming down the pipes in the next few months in terms of a studio release and I would actually wager to say that this next album could easily be the biggest of their career. Only time will tell with that and they were very scarce on much information regarding the release of any of the new songs or the album itself.
After that the band was back on track performing the songs that helped them build their legacy and fanbase as they closed out the night in a true rapid fire finale and a few more stories including a funny one about Brad always wanted to drive a Monster Truck (he has a guest there that evening who drives the Batman truck as he explained). The set came to an end with an encore but not before a great story about their iconic song “Kryptonite” and how much that song scared them as a band because they didn’t want to become a “one hit wonder” band. Clearly that is far from the case but prior to that story and the song the band ran through performances of “Loser” and “Duck and Run” which they explained prevented them from becoming stuck with just that one song that was constantly played.
3 Doors Down have proven themselves time and time again and this tour is just an extension of that never ending cycle. Their new album is going to catapult them to even higher success whenever it sees the light of day but until then they will keep on trucking with their incredible acoustic tour. The fans love it and they love it; you really can’t ask for much more than that. Everybody was nothing but smiles on stage and they have never seemed tighter as a band. Brad Arnold has treated his voice well over the years and he continually pushes it to places I never thought it could go based on the studio recordings. Do yourself a favor if you haven’t already and treat yourself to a ticket to a date of 3 Doors Down’s “Songs From the Basement” tour because it is everything and anything a fan can ask for.